I hope this is the correct place where I could ask this question. My mother is an accountant with a degree in economics. She works as a freelancer and she needs some licenses for her job.

The biggest problem is adobe acrobat standard, which costs 400€, quite a lot. I want understand if she must buy it to create pdf files or she can use some free (even for commercial use) programs that she has because of her job (the chamber of commerce provide some advantages to accountants).

She is actually using PDFCreator, which as I can read is free for business usage (open source also!!): http://sourceforge.net/projects/pdfcreator/

Thanks for any suggestion

  • What is your question? It sounds like she has a tool that does what she wants it to, and is allowed for that usage per its license. What's the problem?
    – Shinrai
    Nov 22, 2011 at 16:44
  • No I'm asking if it is actually possible to do this with that tool. I said "as I can read", I'm definitely not sure of it, that's why I'm asking. I don't understand if you must use adobe program to create pdf or you can use something created by others (I don't understand if this is even allowed). Nov 22, 2011 at 16:48
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    Oh, I didn't realize she hadn't actually tried to use it yet. CharlieRB's answer is correct and this is true for pretty much any widely used filetype ever. You can't keep other people from making their own interfaces for a filetype (unless you don't release the specifications to anybody who doesn't pay in the first place, like say RAR files, but Adobe hasn't done this). There are mountains of free and even open source PDF creation programs.
    – Shinrai
    Nov 22, 2011 at 16:57
  • Thanks Shinrai, maybe you didn't realize it because english is not my native language and sometimes I find difficult to express some concepts (say thanks to wordreference.com for "accountant" term). By the way thanks a lot for your comment. Nov 22, 2011 at 17:10
  • Your English is actually very good - I just mistook your meaning. No worries! :)
    – Shinrai
    Nov 22, 2011 at 17:14

2 Answers 2


Adobe does not own all rights to files with a PDF extension. The only reason she would have to be licensed by Adobe would be to legally use their software. Any open source PDF creator used will be covered by its own licensing, not Adobe's. Create away!

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    Thanks a lot for your answer, you saved my mother a lot of money Nov 22, 2011 at 17:10

No, you do not need an Adobe Standard or Adobe Professional licence to create PDF files, assuming you have legally licenced another program which creates them (there are some that are free as long as you follow whatever licence or 'copy-left' agreement they come with).

That being said there are a small number of things (which you may never use) that you do need an Adobe licence for, most specifically if you want to create documents with 'enhanced usage rights'. A document with enhanced usage rights (which are enabled by the document being digitally signed using a secret key inside Adobe Std/Pro) allows features normally only found in Adobe Standard/Professional to be used in Adobe Reader when viewing that PDF. In particular some features for filling out, adding comments to and saving PDF forms can only be used if the user owns a Std/Pro version of Adobe, or if a Std/Pro user has digitally signed the document (and there are restrictions on how many you can sign).

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